No adequate training provided to practitioners related to the current legislation concerning human trafficking (esp. migrant smuggling) and the protection of unaccompanied minors.
Migrant smuggling and the inadequate protection of unaccompanied minors are issues that have been increasingly present through migration. Legal frameworks are in place in order to regulate illegal practices, however, due to the constant and fast-pace change of EU and national legislations, LEAs are neither fully aware of the scope of these issues nor of the existing legislation that prohibits such unlawful practices. Therefore, there is no current application of said regulations, thus leaving even more space for these practices to expand.
October 2020 Workshop Findings
There is a need for consistent and continuous training regarding identification at the border, which should mainly consist of screening technology and up-to-date workshops on investigative tools, persecution, criminal networks etc. (already provided in some EU Member States). Some of the challenges that have been identified regarding human trafficking, are linked to the fact that small ships with few migrants follow new routes, while transporting criminals mixed among the migrants. Therefore, identification of migrants, victims, and criminals, as well as the timely identification of the new routes, is crucial. Effective coordination of different stakeholders is needed in that respect.
The main identification protocol relies on interviews and collection of immigrants’ fingerprints, however immigrants occasionally lie about the information they provide, making the need for accurate and precise information more critical1. A possible solution would be the creation of information hotspots with translators, cultural mediators, forensic police and other law enforcement authorities.
Unaccompanied minors appear more distressed and do not adjust easily. They need additional help and guidance due to their inability to adequately absorb useful information and instructions regarding their next steps. Therefore, legal aid expressly for them should be put into place, in order to provide advice and support in preparing their applications for international protection or family reunification. NGOs could offer crucial help in this domain.
A step in the right direction was also made by the Commission’s proposal for a new pact on migration and asylum, which exempts minors from border procedures.
Furthermore, additional caution should be exercised while sharing information on minors. Due to their inherent vulnerability, all processes should be applied carefully and ‘by the book’, and always in contact with the public authorities (note: The prosecutor is appointed as the temporary guardian of the minors).